Very, Very Little

Torrential rain and hail—that grew from the size of peas to the size of hefty marbles—interrupted the early May serenity yesterday afternoon. Weather reports from across the nation and around the world reinforced my sense that the climate has lost its patience with us. Mother Nature has become belligerent; angry, surly, and lacking in compassion. She has stopped sending strong warnings. In their place, she has begun unleashing raw, unfettered contempt. The mid-March tornado that tore through large swaths of Hot Springs Village was her final threat. Henceforth, her watchword will be rage. She will exact revenge on humans, of course, but her wrath will extend far beyond humanity. Innocent animals, plants, and the very ground on which we tread will become targets for her boiling animosity. After sending us countless advisories, Mother Nature is no longer willing to give us opportunities to redeem ourselves and the planet we call home. Her foul mood has crossed the threshold between vile and vicious. We do not deserve pity, of course, but we want it badly. We long for the sweet taste of mercy, yet the only tastes in our mouths are the remnants of pungent bitterness. All our opportunities to be treated with tenderness have been squandered.


Our sun is a tiny speck in an endless universe. Stars one million times the size and brightness of our sun are common. Our sun. As if we own it or control it or otherwise have any influence over its behavior. And if we are infinitely small and powerless, all of existence surrounding us is boundlessly vast. And powerful beyond limits. Even with all the remarkable progress we have made as a species over countless millennia, our advances are utterly insignificant in the broader scheme of all existence. Our pride is embarrassingly laughable. Yet it is so infinitesimally valueless that it does not merit even a grin; much less, laughter.


In light of the vastness of the scope of a universe so huge and timeless, how is it possible for humans to think we can be anything but unimportant? The only answer is that we delude ourselves. We lie to ourselves and to one another. We tell stories that make us feel larger than we are, ignoring the size of the sky above us.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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